HC Deb 12 February 2002 vol 380 cc161-2W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Liberia, with specific regard to human rights abuses. [34427]

Mr. MacShane

We are very concerned by the worsening conflict between Government forces and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy dissidents, the resultant humanitarian crisis and the serious human rights situation. We are working hard to resolve instability in the Mano River sub-region and promote greater respect for human rights. We have called on the Presidents of Guinea and Liberia to stop supporting rebel groups which are destabilising each other's countries.

We are concerned at reports of Liberian forces committing serious human rights abuses against civilians, in particular, internally displaced persons. There is an increasing flow of refugees into Sierra Leone. The EU opened Article 96 talks with Liberia in November 2001, demanding greater respect for human rights before resuming EU development funding. The UK and EU have called for legal investigations to be launched into all human rights abuses, more human rights training for security personnel and the creation of an independent human rights commission.

We are continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to Liberia. Over the past 18 months we have contributed £1 million to the Consolidated Appeal for West Africa, some of which is allocated to Liberia. All of this assistance is channelled through NGOs, not the Government of Liberia.

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